Officials throughout the Obama administration, military and civilian, deny any rift and contend that the controversy over McChrystal’s remarks is a media-driven event with little substance. Some noted that Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has set himself up as a key swing vote in the debate over changing Afghanistan strategy, has zealously guarded the administration’s freedom of action, and reacted very badly to the leak of McChrystal’s assessment which did not, several civilian and military officials confirm, come from McChrystal’s staff. “The impact may be the opposite of the leaker’s intent,” said an official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “This will increase the determination of the civilian leadership not to be rushed or pressured.”
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